- "After all, the Republic is really to blame for all of our Galaxy's struggles. A Confederacy of Independent Systems is in the making—and a great galactic war is inevitable."
- ―San Hill
The Separatist Crisis (24 BBY–22 BBY) was the period of tension that began a decade after the Invasion of Naboo, characterised by the secession of several thousand star systems from the Galactic Republic to form the Confederacy of Independent Systems, led by the charismatic ex-Jedi Master Count Dooku. The period was marked by growing violence between Separatist- and Republic-supporting factions, the displacement of many billions of refugees, and intense debate on the issue of restoring a centralized Republic Military to counter the perceived threat from the CIS.
The crisis came to a head in 22 BBY, when a Jedi-led investigation of an assassination attempt on Senator Amidala of Naboo linked various megacorporations, including the Trade Federation, InterGalactic Banking Clan, and Techno Union to the Separatist movement. Gathering evidence that these corporations were planning to pool their droid armies to overwhelm the Republic, the Galactic Senate granted emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who used them to acquire a clone army from Kamino and launch a pre-emptive strike on the droid foundries of Geonosis, beginning the galaxy-spanning Clone Wars.
The crisis was ultimately discovered to have been manipulated and intensified by Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith and alter ego of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who worked with Dooku to lay the groundwork for a war that would bring about the culmination of the Sith Grand Plan to destroy the Jedi Order and transform the Republic into the Sith-led Galactic Empire.
- "Pay heed to the way the Republic and the Jedi Order deal with them. The Federation will be dismantled, and the precedent will be set. Unless you take steps to begin a slow, carefully planned withdrawal from the Senate, taking your home and client systems with you, you, too, risk becoming the property of the Republic."
- ―Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Plagueis to a holo-audience of the Commerce Guild, the Techno Union, and the Corporate Alliance, on how the Republic had dealt with the Trade Federation upon enacting the blockade of Naboo to protect its interests.
Although the Republic provided some measure of political unity, and promoted a norm of negotiation, it lacked a military force capable of maintaining order. Security was the province of individual planets, or powerful interplanetary blocs like the Trade Federation. Thus, there was a kind of latent anarchy beneath the civilized surface. The planets that would later constitute the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) brought this deficit into plain sight by departing from the Republic.
Although it is not entirely clear, there might have been reasons for both weak and strong planets to follow this course of action. Strong planets obviously would fare well under a more decentralized regime, because they could exercise their power openly. But while the Republic's influence may have been enough to thus irritate the great powers, it was not enough to convince the weaker powers that it could truly protect them, as the Naboo crisis demonstrated. Perhaps smaller-scale alliances would provide better protection than a commitment to a galactic government.
- "There will come a time when that cult of greed, called the Republic, will lose all pretext of democracy and freedom."
Advocates of decentralization also found support amongst the free-trade lobby. A galactic government could either impose its own taxes, adding to trade barriers put in place by planets, or favor a liberal trade regime, compelling planets to lower those barriers. The Republic tended towards the former model, in part perhaps because it lacked the power to pursue the latter. It thus became much resented by business and trade actors. The CIS offered an alternative of the liberalizing but otherwise minimalist governance that these actors found attractive.
The Raxus AddressEdit
The Confederacy of Independent Systems began in 24 BBY when, after eight years in seclusion, Count Dooku commandeered a Republic communications station in the Tion Hegemony and delivered an address from Raxus Prime, denouncing the Senate and the Jedi for allowing the Republic's ideals and morals to decline.
The Raxus Address set off a wave of secessions: for decades, numerous planets, species, and groups had been trying to reduce the power of the Galactic Senate, lower or eliminate taxes, grant graft in exchange for political favors, or withdraw from the Republic for various isolationist or xenophobic reasons. Spurred by the disillusioned Dooku and the failure of the Senate to even vote on the Financial Reform Act, the various corporations and planets began to withdraw from the Senate in 24 BBY, organizing themselves into the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
For all its effect on the galaxy, the CIS was really more of a movement than an organized state. It ultimately became a loosely-organized affiliation of various megacorps and planets with a wide range of ambitions and philosophies. Some sought for the new CIS to destroy the Republic, but many others simply wanted local independence and had little enthusiasm for a new centralized government. This resulted in a loose confederation which saw the megacorporations seated on the Separatist Council owing to their military and economic power, overriding the authority of the democratic Separatist Parliament and allowing for capitalism with no government involvement in planetary affairs.
In public, Dooku swayed planets and commercial concerns to his side while privately training a number of Dark Side Adepts, including Asajj Ventress, Sev'rance Tann, and Saato. Other soldiers who sided with the Confederacy included the Gen'Dai bounty hunter Durge, Cydon Prax, and Grievous, a Kaleesh warlord rebuilt as a cyborg warrior by the IG Banking Clan, who would become the Supreme Commander of the Droid Armies.
The crisis began at the end of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's eight years in office. Palpatine was constitutionally-obliged to step down that year, but exactly as Darth Sidious had planned, the Senate voted to allow him an indefinite extension of his term until the threat was resolved. Amidst much debate, he agreed to allow discussion of a Military Creation Act that would restore the Republic Military to counter the threat of separatism.
The Confederacy takes shapeEdit
The year 24 BBY saw thousands of planets leave the Republic, with a new system leaving virtually every day. Many Senators believed that the Confederacy should be allowed to exist alongside the Republic, while others pushed for the passage of the Military Creation Act to bolster the Jedi Order and Judicial Forces.
Dooku's emerging Confederacy of Independent Systems secretly used the negotiation period to begin building droid armies, in the hope that by the time negotiations invariably failed, they would be strong enough to force the Republic to grant them independence anyway. Dooku secretly solicited help from the galaxy's six major industrial powers, and while none of them declared for the CIS until the very start of the Clone Wars, their financial assistance was of invaluable help to Dooku. On Geonosis, Baktoid Armor Workshop's droid foundries produced thousands of battle droids. The InterGalactic Banking Clan of Muunilinst, led by San Hill, provided both loans and Hailfire droid tanks and IG lancer combat droids from its Collections and Security Division. The Commerce Guild led by Gossam magistrate Shu Mai provided raw materials. Wat Tambor's Techno Union provided dozens of factory worlds, forming a region of space that became known as the "Foundry of the Confederacy". A quieter backer was Passel Argente's Corporate Alliance, which regulated the distribution of retail products.
Despite four trials in the Supreme Court for his command of the invasion of Naboo, Nute Gunray remained the Viceroy of the Trade Federation. Unaware that his former backer, Darth Sidious, was now backing the Separatists, Gunray went to Count Dooku and told him everything he knew about the shadowy Sith Lord who claimed to control the Galactic Senate. Dooku, who had already sworn himself to Sidious as Darth Tyranus, accepted Gunray's account. Gunray's price for the support of the Trade Federation and its droid army was the death of Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo, in revenge for his humiliation ten years earlier.
While Supreme Chancellor Palpatine vowed that he would never allow the Republic to be split in two, he did not publicly support the creation of a Republic Military, and the Senate vote on the Military Creation Act was delayed endlessly. This led many Separatists to gleefully regard Palpatine as a lightweight, adept at maintaining power but incapable of formulating a coherent response to the Republic's many secessionist movements.
A major turning point in the crisis was the Battle of Antar 4, which occurred in 22.5 BBY. The botched Republic attempt to remove a radical, Separatist-affiliated terrorist government from Antar 4 not only resulted in converting the majority of Antar 4's citizens' sympathies to the Separatists, but also showed Separatist-leaning worlds that the Republic was not as infallible as had been thought. In the eighteen months prior to the Battle of Antar 4, over a thousand worlds had joined the Confederacy; in the three months following the battle, over five thousand new worlds joined.
Another notable point in the Separatist Crisis was the Ansion border dispute, in which the Commerce Guild tried to get the people of Ansion to withdraw from the Republic, which would have meant other more important planets would withdraw due to Ansion's numerous treaties with neighboring planets.
The Jedi Council sent four Jedi (Luminara Unduli, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Barriss Offee) to try and keep Ansion within the Republic. In the end they managed to call a truce between the pro-Secession Unity Council and the nomad Alwari, the dispute between the Unity Council and the Alwari tribes was being used by the Commerce Guild and the Ansionion Senator Mousul to convince the Ansionions they would be benefit more from being out of the Republic.
However, after the Jedi managed to form a truce between the two sides the Ansionions decided they did not need to leave the Republic after all and overwhelmingly voted against secession.
The failure of Ansion meant that the Separatists were delayed from issuing demands to the Republic, but Dooku only considered Ansion to be a minor setback.
The Separatist Crisis ended when the Battle of Geonosis began.
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